Washington: As the Arab League in a consensus decision endorsed a no-fly zone over Libya imposed by Western nations, a top US lawmaker has demanded that the League should pay for imposing such an expensive option against the North African nation.
"Given the costs of a no-fly zone, the risks that our
involvement would escalate, the uncertain reception in the
Arab street of any American intervention in an Arab country,
the potential for civilian deaths, the unpredictability of the
endgame, the strains on our military, and other factors, it is
doubtful that US interests would be served by imposing a
no-fly zone over Libya," said Senator Richard Lugar, the
Ranking Republican in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"If the Obama Administration is contemplating this
step, however, it should begin by seeking a declaration of war
against Libya that would allow for a full Congressional debate
on the issue. In addition, it should ask Arab League
governments and other governments advocating for a no-fly zone
to pledge resources necessary to pay for such an operation."
This is not unprecedented, Lugar argued.
"More than USD 50 billion in foreign contributions
were received to offset US costs in association with the first
Gulf War in 1991. Much of this came from Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait," he said.
"This has never been a case about what our
capabilities are. Obviously the United States of America has
the capacity with its international partners to activate a
no-fly zone, as well as take a variety of other potential
measures," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
"The issue is making sure that the policy decisions we
make, we make collectively with our international partners,
because it is very important that the response be an
international one and not just an American one, and that we
are cognizant of what the goals are and whether they’re
achievable, and what the impacts of that decision will be," he
NATO and its partners are meeting tomorrow and
Thursday in this regard.
"We continue to condemn the use of violence against
the Libyan people by the Qaddafi regime, and we are encouraged
by the international condemnation of that and by the actions
taken by the Arab League, for example, because we believe that
whatever actions we do take should be international and
especially should represent the will of the people in the
region and the countries in the region. That’s why the Arab
League’s voice on this is so important," Carney said.